Easter traditions around the World

Easter traditions vary around the world – from dyeing eggs to dancing around them.

In some countries, huge processions take place, while in others the religious celebration is marked in more sedate ways.

Here are a few traditions in some countries:

Spain

  • Easter is celebrated in dramatic ways throughout Spain, from processions of religious statues to the drum chorus in Calanda.
  • Holy Week is called Semana Santa, and Semana Santa in Andalucia sees the ‘nazarenos’ in traditional hoods and masks following processions.
  • The Danza de la Muerte (Dance of Death) takes place in Verges, Gerona, on Holy Thursday and harks back to the Black Death in the 14th century. It involves five people dressed as skeletons touring the town and scaring many in their path.

Guatemala

  • An Easter festival is held in Antigua, a tradition brought to the country by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. It involves a week of celebrations, including a procession travelling through the town.
  • People gather to carry huge  holy statues and a shrine is constructed every year.
Semana Santa Easter festival | Guatemala

Ireland

  • People often prepared for the coming of Easter by spring cleaning their home, buying new clothes and cutting hair and fingernails.
  • In the past, a mock funeral for a herring would be held on Easter Saturday, which marked the end of the Lenten period where Catholics would abstain from eating red meat.

America

  • Dyeing Easter eggs is popular here, a tradition that is also carried out around the world.
  • The White House Easter Egg Roll is an annual event where children roll easter eggs down the White House lawn. This was a European tradition taken to the New World by settlers.

Britain

  • Traditional folk dancing called Morris dancing takes place over Easter.
  • Easter bonnets were popular, especially in times past, when women would make and wear their own bonnets..
  • Hot cross buns are served on Good Friday, while Simnel cake was served on Easter Sunday to help break the Lenten fast.
  • Maundy Thursday is celebrated by Christians on the Thursday before Easter, and includes blessing of holy oils and often the washing of the feet. The Monarch offers ‘alms’ or coins to senior citizens.
  • A game called ‘egg tapping’ is sometimes played in the North of England, where players hit other players’ eggs and the winner is the one whose egg breaks last.
Morris dancing | England

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